Retired General Speaks of Iraq Mismanagement

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Army Career Behind Him, General Speaks Out on Iraq
By THOM SHANKER

ROCHESTER, May 10 — John Batiste has traveled a long way in the last four years, from commanding the First Infantry Division in Iraq to quitting the Army after three decades in uniform and, now, from his new life overseeing a steel factory here, to openly challenging President Bush on his management of the war.

“Mr. President, you did not listen,” General Batiste says in new television advertisements being broadcast in Republican Congressional districts as part of a $500,000 campaign financed by VoteVets.org. “You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps. I left the Army in protest in order to speak out. Mr. President, you have placed our nation in peril. Our only hope is that Congress will act now to protect our fighting men and women.”

Those are powerful, inflammatory words from General Batiste, a retired major general who spent 31 years in the Army, a profession sworn to unflinching loyalty to civilian control of the military. Many senior officers say privately that talk like this makes them uncomfortable; when you pin that first star on your shoulder, they say, your first name becomes “General” for the rest of your life.

But General Batiste says he has received no phone calls, letters or messages from current or former officers challenging his public stance, although he occasionally gets an anonymous e-mail message with the heading “Traitor.” Having quit the Army in anger at what he calls mismanagement of the Iraq war, he says he chose a second career far from Washington and the Pentagon so that he could speak freely on military issues.

“I am outraged, as are the majority of Americans,” General Batiste said over sandwiches in a blue-collar diner here. “I am a lifelong Republican. But it is past time for change.”
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2 comments:

  1. I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

    Politicians make no difference.

    We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/03/spyagency200703

    Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

    There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

    The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

    So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

    This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

    The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

    For more details see:

    http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/inside-pentagon-procurement-from.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Ken,

    Thank you for your comment. It is truly troubling how the MIC has grown into a synergy with the Federal Government.

    I sympathize with your view of an eventual collapse and subsequent re-ordering. I think that may be what is required to set the house straight.

    There is so much momentum in the current system. I don't know how it can be stopped short of its own self-destruction. But it will self destruct.

    That's both heartening and dreadful at the same time.

    I am interested in creating an alternative society so as to facilitate non-participation with the current system.

    Because in a lot of ways, I think we have already reached system failure. Society is not serving life. Society is tending toward degeneracy and the debasement of what it means to be human.

    Society is serving the agents of destruction and violence.

    There is a better way. It's up to us to start living it.

    ReplyDelete

 
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